NYCFC vs Inter Miami CF preview: Facing Messi and friends

-NYCFC will face Inter Miami CF this weekend

-It is unknown whether Lionel Messi will start

-Here is a preview of the upcoming game

NYCFC / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It has been some time since New York City FC last faced Inter Miami CF.  In that game, an own goal led to a 1-0 win.  Concerns about the Pigeons did not start yet, and the Florida side had a completely different roster.

Now, NYCFC will have to battle Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, and the other summer signings the Herons made a few months ago.  The team has gone from the worst team in the league to the most interesting team to watch.  Of course, Messi would be the main reason why. 

Still, when Miami is without their star player, similar problems that plagued them earlier in the year tend to arise.  Therefore, the result can lie with whether the Argentine plays.

Here is a preview of the upcoming game between NYCFC and Inter Miami.

When is the match between New York City FC and Inter Miami CF?

The match will take place on Saturday, September 30 at 7:30 PM.

Where is the NYCFC game?

The game will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at DRV PNK Stadium.

Where can fans watch the NYCFC game?

Fans can catch NYCFC on Apple TV via the MLS Season Pass. 

What can New York City FC expect from Inter Miami?

In all honesty, New York City FC does know what to expect, and hopefully is preparing tactics for if Messi plays or if he does not.  If he does, then the Pigeons should expect one of the most challenging fixtures of the season.  If he does not play, then the match will still be difficult.  However, a win will be possible. 

Moreover, if there is a lot of roster rotation due to the U.S. Open Cup, and many of the Herons' stars are rested, then the Pigeons should expect a game they can dominate.  The result will lie with whether they can continue their recent trend of scoring goals. 

Nonetheless, Messi is the biggest threat on the team, and rightfully so.  The superstar has taken Major League Soccer by storm and is almost guaranteed to score goals when he starts. He has only scored once in MLS so far.  Yet, he scored ten goals in the Leagues Cup. 

So, NYCFC must pay attention to the World Cup winner if he is on the pitch.  Not only can he score, but he raises the level of his teammates.  He makes other players goal-scoring threats as well.  The Pigeons must shut him down to secure three points.                

Which NYCFC player should supporters watch?

NYCFC supporters should watch Tayvon Gray against Miami. The right-back has quietly been having a superb September.  Most of the attention has been on the attacking players who are starting to shine.  The Homegrown player has been lights out in the defense and should be highlighted. 

Gray has been making life not-so-great for the opposing teams.  He is hard to get around, and when he has made a mistake, he has redeemed himself by clearing the ball out or regaining possession. 

Notably, the team will be on the road this weekend.  It will be interesting to see whether Gray can keep up his work away from home.

What is the prediction for New York City FC?

New York City FC needs three points.  There is no question.  The outcome will depend on the Starting XI of Miami. 

The prediction is that NYCFC will lose 3-1 if Messi starts, draw 2-2 if other stars play without the Argentine, and a 2-0 win if Miami puts out a weaker roster due to their U.S. Open Cup final.  They lost the game without Messi and Alba. 

This might be one of the hardest matches to predict, for one cannot know who will start for the Herons.  New York City FC should put out the same Starting XI as last weekend, especially because they will not play a mid-week fixture.